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Interview with Debra Jackson

Jackson, Debra
Dawes, Yolanda
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with people and places; Cultural identification
Debra Jackson talks about how her family handles funerals.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Yolanda Dawes interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
YD (Yolanda Dawes): Interviewer is Yolanda Dawes, interviewee, is Debra Jackson. And the date is four, 28, oh-three. And Debra Jackson is from?
DJ (Debra Jackson): Wilson. County. North Carolina.
YD: OK, can you tell me, Ms. Jackson where it's at, at? You know like in relation to Charlotte.
DJ: Far away.
YD: Can you be more specific please?
DJ: Close to Raleigh, about 330 miles, far away.
YD: What?
DJ: You know funerals is funny in my family, because, [pause] a lot of times, it's where, all the show out stuff is happening. Um, most of the time when we get ready you know somebody in the family dies or whatever, is, the only part that's sad about it is, the fact that a person that you love done died, and that just makes, you know, for sad occasions but the funerals normally tend to be pretty, up-beat 'cause we don't call them, uh, we don't call them, funerals, but they call them home going services, and so, when you get there, you know there may be a few sad places in the funeral family member's crying when they go, over the life, but, over the life for the person that done died, but, most of the time it's just you know it's pretty, it's, you know, it's a pretty happy place to be when it's like a celebration. And so, I'm going to tell you a little about the last one that we had, and it was, you know, kind of funny. And the same time, you know, it wasn't. But um. So. We had a, one of the older aunts in the family, finally passed on, was like a, I guess would be a, a great aunt, and you know, it was, I ain't really, I ain't really know her that much, but, some of the other family did so, when she passed we went on to the funeral, and uh, it was just interesting 'cause she was, she had done moved up state and it was one of them people that you know, you didn't see that much. And, they brought her body back home because, she was, uh, that's where the family was, she was one of them ones that when she got a little bit older she, moved on up state. And 'cause, I guess, Wilson was just too small a town for her. So. The day of the funeral, we went on up and everybody. My grandmother, who is also older, uh, started getting everything together and she came by she called that morning, and she was rushing us 'cause she wanted everybody to come and meet the other part of the family that was coming over to her house. So she called and she was like, "Is y'all ready?" And I was like, "Well, we, you know we about done, we ain't finished yet everybody ain't got dressed," and so, she was like, "Well, I'm fixing to leave and y'all need to be ready when we get over there." So. 'Cause you know when you get to a funeral and you go and they gone get the limo and y'all be the family members who choose to, they ride in the limo. Or the limousine. And uh, so, we was you know, the limo had came and we was, fixing, you know fixing to get up there and gone get in the car. And, then, a family member called and the first thing that was funny that had happened was that we had already asked everybody who wanted a ride, in the limo 'cause there's a limited amount of space, that you can get, you know people in, and it was a pretty big one but it was still everybody and their mama can't ride in it. And so we had a family member, a older, family member, one of the sisters, had called and said, you know, ain't, ain't nobody asked me if I wanted to ride in a limo, and, she didn't think it was right, that the young, the young, the young kids get to ride in the limo, and she was one of the older ones and, she had done lived with her for, you know, lived with her, grew up with her, and she didn't get to asked could she get a ride in the limo. And so, we went ahead on and cleared a space for her somebody had to get out of the limo and not ride and so, me, and another family member of mine just went ahead on and drove a car instead of riding in the, the family limo, and, it's just little stuff like that that makes you, you know, laugh, because, there you have a situation where y'all had already asked who, who was wanting a ride, and, then nobody say nothing, then come time for the funeral and here come everybody hollering and screaming about who, why, why ain't nobody ask me could I go. So. I think next you know we got to the home where the body was and they do the thing, uh we, uh they did the thing like, somebody come in and, the first person to come, the family come in, I'm sorry. The family lines up and they say who, you know, the family come and sit in the front row, first three rows. It's normally where all the family sits. And so, then, here come folks that ain't really family, fixing to come up here and have the seats on the front row where they ain't even 'posed to be, you know, or they family just people you ain't seen in a long time. And, so, you go on from there. Folks, fussing, in, in the home where the body's at, fixing to have the funeral and they in there fussing about who going to sit where, so. [Pause] Peoples, you know, making changes at the last minute and then you got folks fussing about, who going to take the flowers home after the funeral, who going to take what wreath, or who going to put what on they door, who get to put the white wreath on the door, when to come in, and so they'll know the family, and the wrea-, the wreath you put up on the door when the family is mourning, wanting to know who going to take that, home. And then you got other folks, who fussing about who going to take the pretty flowers home that come in the pots and, some, talking about they wanting to take, come, come take the pretty ones and, ain't even, you know, helped plan the service or nothing. And then you got the other family members who just want, you know, to show out, at the, at the funeral. And uh, all that ain't necessary when they come up in there and they, just, talk about a bunch a nonsense, and get up to the body trying to see the body, and then falling all out in the aisles, and it's just you know, that kind of stuff. It's funny 'cause over in the first three pews where the other folks is staying the folks is just talking like, "Did you see her over there? Acting all crazy at the funeral and falling all out on the floor and mess," if uh, talking about that and that makes for some funny stories, after the funeral when you go and the family get together and we have that dinner, at, you know, whoever house. And uh, so we were talking about one person in particular got to the, gravesite where they lay the body down and here comes somebody talking about, here come one of the family members, somebody we don't really see all that often, hopping up, talking about, "Lord Jesus, don't take her, don't take her." And so, just actually cutting the fool, and, acting all crazy. So. What ends up happening is that, they had to go out there and she fall, fall all out by the casket, fixing to pull the casket on the floor. It's just a, a big old fiasco. And then they come up, and they's talking like, "She was good, she was good," and, other people in the pews talking about uh, didn't even know her, person didn't even know her. And so, she get there and fall all out. And, folks is wondering, you know, who is this person up here falling all out at the casket don't nobody know. And so, uh, we had the one, and then, plus you had people who you had the family cutting up and then come, turn around here and got guests that you ain't seen you know, people from who ain't even in the family and they coming. And acting all crazy, and, just, acting doing talking about stuff that happened years back which we don't mind at a funeral but, some folks stand up and tell stories that ain't even you know they just ain't necessary. And uh. [Pause] So that's I mean, it's pretty much one of them things where, you just wanting to be like, Lord just let's get this over with 'cause you're tired, you done made all the plans, and, and then you know you got to go home afterwards and do the dinner, so the funeral, the funerals only half of the story. So you get home and you get to the dinner and folks coming over. Folks, and I'm the type of person you know if you don't come to the funeral, then, or you, you know or the wake, whichever, come, and, come don't come to the house, or if you come to the house, come to speak but they come in trying to eat up all the food, and, coming in and folks ain't paid for nothing, and don't even know the person that's dead, just coming in over to your house, and you know, they don't know them, 'cause you don't know them, and that's the thing that makes me mad and so we had one person come over to the house, and she come in talking about, "Yeah, you know," come to the family, shake they hands, "I sure did miss you know, your mama," but the thing was is the person who she was talking to won't even they mama. It was somebody else's mama so she don't even know what the daughter look like, coming to the house, and, was just an imposter, just there for no, no reason at all. And um, so, I was like, well Lord Jesus when, when is it going to be over, 'cause I'm, I ain't no funeral person no ways. So. Then they, then you know you got people coming over and well now some folks is welcome they come and sometimes you get the people that bring you pies, and they bring you cakes, and, stuff just to kind of help out during the rough time and them is you know they some pretty nice people they, alright people from the neighborhood or whatever. And uh. I guess, what I'm trying to say is that, it's just a big, thing when somebody die, you know in my family, where I'm from. And, it can be a fun thing and at the same time it can be, something that you just don't even want to mess with because it's so much, so much just going on and people, calling at the house and they just doing all kinds of stuff. That, some folks doing so they don't make no sense and you get into a lot of little petty stuff when somebody die like with like I said who going to ride in the limo, and then you get, the stuff that's just out-, outrageous, people coming over that don't know you to eat and, stuff like that, you think folks would know better, you know, than to disrespect somebody during a time when they going through something like that, but, folks in, you know some folks just don't, they don't think sometimes, huh. Anyways. Uh. [Pause] It's, you know. It's just something that goes on, it's, part, you know, it's a part of life, but, then you know funerals and stuff just ain't my thing and the plannings, and fussing about who going to take the flowers and, you know who, who going to do this and who going to do that and end, most of the time it end up one person had to do everything and it's just, craziness. So. I reckon that's about all I got to say about that, um. Gone wrap this up, and [pause] let that be it, I hope that's enough time, and hope that's a good enough story for you. Alright.